Girl Geek X Elevate 2022 conference addressed #BreakTheBias 🙅🏻‍♀️

March 8, 2022

Our 5th annual Girl Geek X: ELEVATE Conference on March 8, 2022 in celebration of International Women’s Day hosted over 3,600 around the world. By the numbers, Elevate hosted 45 speakers across 23 sessions, supported by 14 sponsors (they are actively hiring, check out their jobs!)

Events such as these, along with Girl Geek Dinners, are important ways to elevate women as experts in their profession, and to provide a safe space to speak candidly about career development and mental health. Here are the Top 10 Tech Talks from ELEVATE 2022. Our inspiring speakers shared nuggets of wisdom, encouraging perseverence, learning from failure, and lifting as we climb.

Watch the Elevate 2022 Conference session videos on YouTube!

Our speakers addressed the IWD theme “Break the Bias”

#1 – Camille Tate, Head of Talent at Strava, breaks the bias of traditional tech hiring, challenging recruiting to step outside normal comfort zones and personal referral networks. Elyse Gordon, Senior Director of Engineering at Strava, agreed that “as a team, we had to unlearn hiring fast and being okay with slow, more intentional hiring” to build a diverse team.

“Building a diverse team is everybody’s job, specifically, not even recruiter’s jobs – it’s the whole company’s job. It’s important that the whole team leads to build diverse teams – every single person at Strava.”

Camille Tate, Head of Talent at Strava

📺🍿✨ Watch the Strava talk on hiring diverse teams to hear from Camille and Elyse articulate the 3 E’s for successful recruiting, share how antiracism is a company value (incorporated in how they hire, interview, and recruit) and more. Strava is hiring – check out their open jobs!

#2 – Engineering leader Tracy Stampfli, Principal Engineer at Slack, breaks the bias that management is leadership, instead talking about the ways how individual contributors (ICs) can lead and influence projects. Mina Markham, Staff Software Engineer at Slack, agrees that “you can be a great leader and not manage people. I like coding, I want to do architecting and strategizing. I was able to shift into IC leadership to be more of a mentor, rather than managing people, it’s great.”

“At Slack, ICs can be leaders and you can have influence, and not all companies are like that. You have to find the right place, the right company fit for you to have that impact. You have to be willing to step forward and have ownership of things and have opinions.”

Tracy Stampfli, Principal Engineer at Slack

📺🍿✨ Watch the Slack panel discussing transitioning from IC to manager, and how to lead if management is not for you to hear from Rukmini Reddy, SVP of Engineering, Leena Mansour, Engineering Manager, Tracy Stampfli, Principal Engineer, Mina Markham, Staff Engineer, and Brook Shelley, Engineering Manager (moderating). Slack is hiring – check out their open jobs!

#3 – Raji Subramanian, VP of Engineering at Opendoor, challenges women to break the bias and be recognized as technical leaders and technologists, not just leaders. She talks about the need to break preconceived notions, and building relationships to understand what you need to get to the next level.

“Lead from the front. Hold the mic. Be the representative who gives the voice to the project you led. Visible results versus invisible results.”

Raji Subramanian, VP of Engineering at Opendoor

📺🍿✨ Watch the Opendoor session to hear from Raji Subramanian, VP of Engineering at Opendoor and Heather Natour, Head of Engineering, Seller and Consumer Growth at Opendoor (moderating). Opendoor is hiring – check out their open jobs!

#4 – Tiffany To, VP of Product at Atlassian, calls out the bias or false belief that women are not ambitious. She seeks more awareness on mindsets around failure, and redefining failure in your unique career path. Kristen Warm, Senior L&D Manager at Atlassian, broaches imagining a career buffet in lieu of a path.

“Do women want leadership roles? Yes. There’s no ambition gap. Women in tech want a seat at every table all the way to the top.”

Tiffany To, VP of Product at Atlassian

📺🍿✨ Watch the Atlassian session to hear from Tiffany To, VP of Product at Atlassian. Atlassian is hiring – join their talent community to check out their open jobs!

#5 – The first female Federal CIO Clare Martorana smashes stereotypes in tech – challenging us to rethink who works in tech, where they live, and normalizes imposter syndrome for applying to jobs.

We want people from different places, it can’t just be New York, DC, Atlanta, Chicago… We need people that come from all different walks of life because we all bring such different perspectives. It’s really important for me to have that understanding and perspective when we are thinking about developing products and services. The people we want to join us on this journey are all of you.”

Clare Martorana, the first female Federal CIO, in conversation with Mina Hsiang, the first female and first Asian-American Administrator at the United States Digital Service (USDS)

📺🍿✨ Watch the USDS session to hear from Clare Martorana, Federal CIO, and Mina Hsiang, Administrator at USDS. USDS is hiring – check out USDS.GOV/APPLY!

#6 – Ashu Ravichander, a Principal Product Manager at Workday, discloses her professional ambitions in tech, reveals a mental health condition (bipolar disorder), and shares her five tried-and-true tools for maintaining her mental health to bring her best to work every day.

“I wish 23-year-old me could have heard more people talking about mental health in a tech or professional setting, so that it felt more normalized.”

Ashu Ravichander, Principal Product Manager at Workday

📺🍿✨ Watch the mental health session to hear from Ashu Ravichander, Principal Product Manager at Workday about her best practices for managing a mental health condition. Anyone who experiences stress can benefit from her mindful grounding techniques.

#7 – Veteran Saas Executive Leyla Seka, COO at Ironclad, talks about breaking the bias when it comes to who gets venture capital startup funding. After managing acquisitions at Salesforce (where she was most recently EVP after a decade climbing the ladder), Leyla united Salesforce Ventures with UC Berkeley to help launch Black Venture Institute, creating a pipeline of diverse investors to fund diverse startup teams.

📺🍿✨ Watch the Ironclad keynote session to hear from Leyla Seka, COO, and Jiahan Ericsson, Senior Director of Engineering (moderating). Ironclad is hiring – check out their open jobs!

#8 – Community organizer Jen-Mei Wu balances healthy skepticism with her excitement for the web3 opportunity to address financial inequity – sharing different ways to make a difference with a small and mighty entrepreneurial team (e.g. decentralized finance helping fund non-profits, dealing with carbon).

“Crypto is a way of moving toward funding without compromise, or at least, fewer compromises. If we can fund our projects without compromises, then we can work toward self-determination. I hope you go and build stuff.”

Jen-Mei Wu, Community Organizer

📺🍿✨ Watch the economic justice and cryptocurrencies / web3 session to hear from community organizer Jen-Mei Wu.

#9 – Michelle Yi, Senior Director of Applied AI at RelationalAI, rejects the stereotype or bias that an advanced STEM degree begets working in the tech industry. She demoes a knowledge graph of women in tech to show “that it doesn’t matter what [educational] background you have, but there is a place for you in tech,” highlighting backgrounds in English, psychology, art, and more.

“The thing is, when you are one of these weakly connected components, you might sometimes feel like you are the only one, But that’s not true, there are so many of us that are out here.”

Michelle Yi, Senior Director of Applied AI at RelationalAI

📺🍿✨ Watch the RelationalAI knowledge graph session to hear Michelle Yi, Senior Director of Applied AI at RelationalAI, on knowledge graphs as the future of data.

#10 – Deafblind accessibility educator Erin Perkins urges employers and organizations to break the ableism bias, accepting responsibility to prioritize and make the situation better for everyone. She notes that transportation and flexibility may be difficult for people with disabilities (“the original hackers”), leading them to have a higher chance of being entrepreneurs / self-employed.

“Remember: Progress, not perfection.”

Erin Perkins, Accessibility Educator

📺🍿✨ Replay the accessibility session, where educator Erin Perkins shares why inclusive design in important for all of us. Captions are enabled.

Special Thank You To ELEVATE 2022 Sponsoring Companies

Thank you to the great folks at Atlassian, Slack, Strava, Autodesk, Front, Intel, Ironclad, MosaicML, Opendoor, RelationalAI, Splunk, United States Digital Service, Fisher Investments, Meta – all of these organizations are actively hiring! You can find their job links below.

Special Thank You To:

Take a look at these job opportunities from our sponsors and government participants!

Atlassian is a leading provider of collaboration, development, and issue tracking software for teams. With over 100,000 global customers (including 85 of the Fortune 100), we’re advancing the power of collaboration with products including Jira, Jira Service Desk, Jira Ops, Confluence, Bitbucket, and Trello.

Join the Atlassian talent community!

Slack has transformed business communication. It’s the leading channel-based messaging platform, used by millions to align their teams, unify their systems, and drive their businesses forward. Slack is where work happens.


Check out open jobs at Slack!

Strava is Swedish for “strive,” which epitomizes our attitude and ambition: We’re a passionate and committed team, unified by a mission to build the most engaged community of athletes in the world. With billions of activity uploads globally, we have a humbling and audacious vision: to be the record of the world’s athletic activities and the technology that makes every effort count.


Check out open jobs at Strava!

Autodesk is changing how the world is designed and made. Our technology spans countless industries, empowering innovators everywhere to solve challenges big and small. From greener buildings to smarter products to more mesmerizing blockbusters, Autodesk software helps our customers to design and make a better world for all.


Check out open jobs at Autodesk!

Front is your hub for all things customer communication. Behind every amazing business is, well, people: a team and customers. And no matter what industry you’re in or where you’re located, it’s those human-to-human interactions that make your experience with a business truly stand out.


Check out open jobs at Front!

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customers’ greatest challenges.

Check out open jobs at Intel!

Ironclad is the #1 contract lifecycle management platform for innovative companies. It’s the only platform flexible enough to handle every type of contract workflow, whether a sales agreement, an HR agreement or a complex NDA.


Check out open jobs at Ironclad!

MosaicML is a deep learning startup with a mission to make machine learning training more efficient for everyone through fundamental innovations in algorithms, systems, and platforms. We believe that large scale training should be available beyond the well-resourced companies, and bridging the gap between research and industry is core to our success.


Check out open jobs at MosaicML!

Opendoor’s mission is to empower everyone with the freedom to move. We believe the traditional real estate process is broken and our goal is simple: build a seamless, end-to-end customer experience that makes buying and selling a home stress-free and instant through technology.


Check out open jobs at Opendoor!

At RelationalAI, we offer a cloud-based Relational Knowledge Graph Management System (RKGMS). We believe relational knowledge graphs are the ideal foundation for data-centric systems – systems that learn, reason, and predict over richly interconnected data.


Check out open jobs at RelationalAI!

Splunk Inc. turns data into doing with the Data-to-Everything Platform. Our powerful platform and unique approach to data have empowered companies to improve service levels, reduce operations costs, mitigate risk, enhance DevOps collaboration and create new product and service offerings.


Check out open jobs at Splunk!

The United States Digital Service is a startup at The White House, using design and technology to deliver better services to the American people. We partner leading technologists with dedicated public servants to improve the usability and reliability of our government’s most important digital services. When you work at the U.S. Digital Service, you change the lives of millions of Americans.

Check out open jobs at US Digital Service!

Fisher Investments is a different kind of investment firm. We don’t come from Wall Street, nor do we believe we fit in with most of the finance industry, and we’re proud of that. We work for a bigger purpose: bettering the investment universe. As of 12/31/21, Fisher Investments and its affiliates have offices in 8 countries and manage over $208 billion in assets for more than 100,000 clients.


Check out open jobs at Fisher Investments!

Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. When Facebook launched in 2004, it changed the way people connect. Apps like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp further empowered billions around the world. Now, Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality.


Check out open jobs at Meta!

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